Profile picture for user xli358

Xiaoqi Liu, PhD


RB2 Office: (859) 562-2006
760 Press Avenue, Research Building 2, Room 330


  • Chair & Professor
  • Lucille P. Markey Endowed Chair in Oncology Research

College Unit(s)


Current therapeutic strategies for cancer patients have shown only moderate success in reducing incidence and mortality rates and improving survival, thus a new class of more specific treatments for various cancers is greatly needed. A major goal in cancer research is to understand the molecular events that are associated with this disease to aid in the development of such novel therapies. The long-term goal of my research program is to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause cancer and to use this information to provide new avenues for cancer therapy. My work focuses on an enzyme known as Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1), which plays a central role in controlling cell division and is known to exist at abnormally high levels in many types of human cancers. Compounds that inhibit Plk1 are currently viewed as promising new anti-cancer drugs. To fully exploit Plk1 as a potential anticancer drug target, it is essential to fully understand its regulation and function, particularly in the context of the cancer cell. We are using a combination of biochemistry, cell biology and mouse genetics to understand how Plk1 contributes to oncogenesis and chemoresistance. My lab is in a position to make crucial contributions in understanding how Plk1 can be exploited as a target for drugs to treat a number of important human diseases, including prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma and lung cancer.

Selected Publications

1. Li, J., Wang, R., Kong, Y., Broman, M. M., Carlock, C., Chen, L., Li, Z., Farah, E., Ratliff, T. L., and Liu, X. (2017) Targeting Plk1 to enhance efficacy of Olaparib in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Mol. Cancer Ther. 16, 469-479.

2. Li, Z., Shao, C., Kong, Y., Carlock, C., Ahmad, N. and Liu, X. (2017) DNA damage response-independent role for MDC1 in maintaining genomic stability. Mol. Cell. Biol. 37, e00595-16.

3. Shao, C., Li, Z., Ahmad, N. and Liu, X. (2017) Regulation of PTEN degradation and Nedd4-1 E3 ligase activity by Numb. Cell Cycle. 16, 957-967.

4. Li, Z., Li, J., Kong, Y., Yan, S., Ahmad, N. and Liu, X. (2017) Plk1 phosphorylation of Mre11 antagonizes the DNA damage response. Cancer Research. 77, 3169-3180.

5. Li, Z., Liu, J., Li, J., Kong, Y., Sandusky, G., Rao, X., Liu, Y., Wan, J. and Liu, X. (2017) Plk1 overexpression enhances ionizing radiation-induced cancer formation. J Biol Chem. 292, 17461-17472.

6. Shao, C., Chien, S., Farah, E., Li, Z., Ahmad, N. and Liu, X. (2018) Plk1 phosphorylation of Numb leads to impaired DNA damage response. Oncogene, 37, 810-820.

7. Li, Z., Kong, Y., Song, L., Luo, Q., Liu, J., Shao, C., Hou, X. and Liu, X. (2018) Plk1 phosphorylation of TSC1 enhances the efficacy of rapamycin. Cancer Research, 78, 2864-75.

8. Mao, F., Li, J., Luo, Q., Wang, R., Kong, Y., Carlock, C., Liu, Z., Elzey, B. and Liu, X. (2018) Plk1 inhibition enhances the efficacy of BET epigenetic reader blockade in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Mol Cancer Ther. 17, 1554-65.

9. Zhang, Z., Cheng, L., Li, J., Farah, E., Atallah, N., Pascuzzi, P., Gupta, S. and Liu, X. (2018) Inhibition of the Wnt/-catenin pathway overcomes resistance of enzalutamide in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Cancer Research, 78, 3147-62.

10. Kong, Y., Cheng, L., Mao, F., Zhang, Z., Zhang, Y., Farah, E., Bosler, J., Bai, Y., Ahmad, N., Kuang, S., Li, L., and Liu, X. (2018) Inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis overcomes enzalutamide resistance in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). J. Biol. Chem., 293, 14328-14341.